Running Like 60

Mar 09 2015

Richard M. Osgood, Jr., Higgins Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering and Professor Emeritus of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, marked a milestone recently as he celebrated the graduation of his 60th graduate student, Zhisheng Li.

Zhisheng Li with Prof. Richard Osgood.

Dr. Li, a graduate of China's University of Science and Technology, majored in materials science and, in particular, specialized in the chemistry of materials science. In his thesis work, Dr. Li's research examined fundamental chemical dynamics at the surface of nanoscale titanium dioxide (TiO2) crystals.

“I am very proud of the work done by Zhisheng as I am for all my students,” said Professor Osgood. “Zhisheng’s contribution to the fundamental understanding of new characteristics of titanium dioxide will give new insight into controlling chemical reactions at surfaces and form the basis for technological advancements of its many applications. Zhisheng’s research is another major discovery of our students in pure and applied science.”

TiO2 is used in both very technical and very basic applications—from advanced solar cells, to chemical catalysis, to house paint. One recent discovery by members of the Osgood Group is that TiO2 changes its chemistry when it is in nanocrystal (~5nm scale) form. Dr. Li's thesis research showed an additional new basic observation of TiO2: nanoscale reactions on TiO2 are very sensitive to the degree of strain on the surface of the crystalline TiO2. Dr. Li and Dr. Denis Potapenko, an associate research scientist at SEAS, used atom-resolved scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) to observe this phenomenon. The results of this research were recently published in the journal ACS Nano, the sixth published paper for Dr. Li.